Two books and a puppy!

👀 A Real Book

Leaving the best until last.

I have begun an interesting biography called Notes From A Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi. Alfred Knopf publisher. 2019.

I am reading this because I have become much more enthusiastic cooking not having to cook in a kitchen out of the dark ages. I have also been watching cooking shows on tv. Repeat series of the Great British Bake off and travels with Rick Stein. Not to mention a copy of Two Fat Ladies vintage cookbook I found in the tip shop. I loved them. I will probably settle down before long but for now I am enjoying many food related tasks.

Kwame Onwuachi is the executive chef at Kith and Kin and owner of the Philly Wing Fry franchise in Washington D.C. He was born on Long Island and raised in NY City, Nigeria and Louisiana. He was first exposed to cooking by his mother, in the family’s modest Bronx apartment and he took that spark of passion and turned it into a career. From toiling in the bowels of oil cleanup ships to working at some of the best restaurants in the world, he has seen and lived his fair share of diversity. This is his story.

He trained at the Culinary Institute of America and has opened five restaurants before turning 30. He has a twitter account: @ChefKwame and an Instagram account: @bastedmind

The author of this book is Joshua David Stein who is a Brooklyn based author and journalist. He was a restaurant critic for the New York Observer and has been a food columnist for The Village Voice. This book is also available on audio. (inside back flap)

👀 👀 Audio

The book I’m listening to currently on audio is Twyla Tharp- The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life. Simon and Schuster; Illustrated edition 2008.

I have chosen this book because after a break from my photography because of the distractions of ill health (all better now), Christmas and all the events in the United States (also all better now) I needed to get my mojo back. Our photography club is meeting again face to face as we are currently Covid free in our state and several excursions in interesting places coming up. This book talks about the way to develop more creativity in all the arts and encourages the reader to establish the routines to be productive in ones chosen field. The author gives several examples of well known dancers, artists and writers in their routines and how productive they become as a result of them. I know…. common sense….but it is nice to have a coach when working alone with any endeavour. It will also encourage me to be more consistent with my journaling and attemps at drawing.

She is one of the world’s leading creative artists, choreographers and creator of the Broadway show, Movin’ Out. She is a well known American dancer, choreographer and author who lives and works in NY city.n In 1966 she formed the company Twyla Tharp Dance. Her work often uses classical music, jazz and contemporary pop music. From 1971 to 1988 she toured extensively around the world performing original works.

The focus of her work and book is going through the painful first steps of scratching for ideas, finding the spine of your work and getting out of ruts and into productive grooves. The wide open realm of possibilities can be energizing and she explains how to take a deep breath and begin. (paraphrasing from Amazon and Wikipedia)

I have always enjoyed book that are related to New York City so to have two on the go at once is great fun.

👀 👀 👀 Personal Journal– Now for the good news. (I think.)

Dolly. Born 27 November, 2020 Pug/Maltese/Toy Poodle……I know.

Meet Ollie’s new little sister…. Dolly. Since we lost our beloved little Molly, Ollie has been at loose ends. He walks around eating stuff that makes him sick, sleeps too much and generally is not himself. He has not been well and has just had xrays and an ultrasound that is backing up his illness that is still being investigated.

We brought Dolly home yesterday. Yesterday was her 8 weeks old birthday. She is a mixture of (get this) pug, maltese and toy poodle. As we get to know her we can see a lot of pug in her (without the flat nose that causes respiratory problems in some breeds). She has a little toy poodle/maltese face with the squatty body and curled up tail of a pug. She is a little feminist, not letting Ollie boss her around as he has tried to do. When that didn’t work, he has now taken all his tennis balls in the front yard and hidden them in the bushes and in the house he has hidden his favourite toys next to bookshelves and behind furniture. It has been very funny to watch. He has that “only child” syndrome. Like a couple of toddlers. We are seeing a new side to him.

Ollie Meets Dolly for the first time.

As we are probably not travelling anywhere for any length of time this year we have lots of time to train her during her first year and to give Ollie a job which he needs. I think most dogs need a job to keep them focused and stop them eating all manner of things they find in the yard. The laughs just keep on coming watching the interaction of these two. As for our indoor cats, they have just rolled their eyes, looked at each other, sighed….’Another puppy!’ and moved on to their daily routines.

What a week it has been. This coming week has the builder coming back and painting our laundry room and before too long installing the kitchen floor to finish off the new kitchen.

I have a couple of friends dropping by to visit Ollie and Dolly and sharing a cup of tea or coffee. Ollie has a vet appointment to continue his diagnosis and treatment and I will take Dolly along to get her checked out as I always do with a new dog. I imagine she will be the last puppy we get in our lifetime as we are not getting any younger and we will go into “older age” together.

They better not forget about me !

As they say in an Olympic year- “Let the games begin!’

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme published on Tuesday that is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Questions are asked and respondents answer. It has been going awhile and I have read it quite a few times but never participated. However when I saw last week’s topic was Top Ten Childhood Favourites I thought I might join in.

Another however…….When this is published in the USA it is already Wednesday here so I decided that I would join in the following Tuesday so it could still be a Top Ten Tuesday although a week late.

I have forgotten a lot of the books I read as a child but reading the answers to this meme had me saying, “Oh yes! I remember reading those!”

So I will begin.

The Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I read the entire series and loved everyone of them. Life on the prairie despite the hardships faced was full of loving families and challenges that were overcome.  They always brought happiness no matter what the reality of life was like at the time.

The Trixie Belden mystery series written by various authors from Western Publishing.   They came out about three times a year and could be purchased at the local 5 and 10 dime store on the corner for 59 cents. A story of two best friends, about 10 years old who solved all kinds of crime though I could not for the life of me tell you now what any of that crime was.

The entire Nancy Drew written by a pseudonym Carolyn Keene by in fact written by several authors. The series was developed by publisher Edward Stratemeyer.  He wanted a female version of the Hardy boys. Nancy was a bit older than Trixie was and I was too when I read them all.  She also solved all manner of crime but she did it on her own which was most impressive at the time.

Then there were the dog and horse tales. How I loved them.

Snip20190708_2White Ruff by ???? was the story of a rough collie stolen by the bad men that came through town with the circus. His young owner, a boy of about 9 or 10 came across him sometime later when his family took him to the circus. Convinced this was his beloved White Ruff he made a deal with the dog’s trainer if he could call the dog away from the trainer during a noisy circus performer he would prove the dog was his. If not, the dog was lost forever.  During the circus performer the band played, the crowd cheered and suddenly a long piercing sharp whistle went through the tent. White Ruff stopped dead in his tracks. Upon hearing the second whistle White Ruff ran to the boy to live happily ever happen. The trainer sighed and moved on knowing the game was up. I think that was the first tale I ever read of true suspense. I must have read that last chapter ten times over to every reading of the book.

Then there was Champion Dog Prince Tom by Jean Fritz and John Clute ....   I think was part of a series of books we signed up in school through Scholastic. We received a book in the mail every month Snip20190708_3and when that book came into that mail box you wouldn’t see me until the next day. Prince Tom was a true story of a lineage of champion cocker spaniels and how he went from a puppy to become the world’s greatest cocker spaniel. The kind of story that gives a dog loving child goosebumps.

There was another book from Scholastic I remember Snip20190708_16reading quite a few times called Ride Like an Indian by Henry V. Laron.

It was a story of a young boy who had an Appaloosa horse and he could ride this horse anywhere. I think it might have been a race he needed to win. He jumped on that horse’s back and rode him like there was no tomorrow, of course without a saddle. He and that horse were best friends. This followed the Fury series of horse books by Albert Miller, that any child horse lover of my generation would know.

Then there was Little Women. The classic story of the four March sisters living with Snip20190708_7their mother in the 1860’s while their father fought in the civil war. Jo was the oldest sister and I loved her the best. Probably because I was the oldest of my sister and brother. Jo and I knew everything.

As another year went by I discovered Betty Smith’s book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The story of Francie who lived in Brooklyn during the 1950s I believe and her life. Her love of school, books and stationery outweighed all the confusion and Snip20190708_5trauma of her childhood growing up poor. I loved that girl and if there had been anyone in fiction I could have hung out with it would have been her.

As a very young reader I remember spending time with Ferdinand the Bull. He wasn’t interested in Bull Fighting. He just wanted to lie in a field, be gentle and smell the flowers. How I loved that bull. I must have read that book a million times.Snip20190708_13

The other books I disappeared into were the first four books of the Childcraft series that was full of fairy tales, geography and travel tales, child development and some other things I never looked at.  Childcraft books had 12 matching books and the first three were literature.

Grimm and Andersen were all there and I loved those tales. I hate that they have taken classic fairy tales and modernised them as to not scare children.  Our wolves ate children, they didn’t chase them away.  The bad animals didn’t muck around. But we knew they were tales and not to be believed and when the animals did survive we knew it was because they were strong and didn’t get caught.  I never had nightmares about them. It was real life that gave me nightmares at times.

Snip20190708_6Well those are my ten books I can think of at the moment. I still own a copy of Champion Dog Prince Tom and White Ruff. I have a beautiful Penguin copy of Little Women. I’ve lost Ferdinand along the way.  I don’t think I still have a copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn but I might have as I read it again about three years ago or so. I still enjoyed it.

So, I’ll see how this Top Ten Tuesday goes and if I feel like doing it again.  Being retired after 40 years of solid commitment in my work and life I don’t commit to much anymore. I’m just continuing to fly through life by the seat of my pants.   I think that’s what retirement should be about. received_344353279619767

My Blog’s Name in Books

I saw this little meme at On Bookes  (originally from Fictionophile) and thought I might join in. Though the name of my blog is quite long I did manage to find books from my shelves.  You might get a better idea why I am focusing on TBR. So many really good unread books!
The rules are:
1. Spell out your blog’s name
2. Find a book from your TBR that begins with each letter. You cannot add books from another source other than your shelves.
3. Have fun looking through your shelves finding books that meet the criteria.
(The dates are the published dates of the book on my shelf, not necessarily the original publication date.)
T   The Travelling Cat: A Journey Round Britain with Pugwash by Frederick Harrison
        – 1989
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R    Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott – 1876 first published
                                                         (My copy is newer than this one)
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A   Australian Notebooks by Betty Churcher  by Betty Churcher  –  2014
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V   Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh  –  2012
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E   Essays After Eighty by Donald Hall  – 2014
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L   Lost In A Good Book by Jasper Fforde  – 2002
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L   Longitude by Dave Sobel  – 1998
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I   In The Presence of Horses by Barbara Dimmick  –  1999
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N   Native Son by Richard Wright –  1940   (I think if one can only read one African
      American book this is the one to read. )  I cheated here. I have read this book…..twice!
      I wanted to include it because it is such an excellent and important book
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P   The Paris Wife by Paula McLain  –  2012
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Ellen Montgomery’s Bookshelf by Susan Bogert Warner  –  1903
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Namma: A Tibetan Love Story by Kate Karko  –  2001
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G   The Golden Arrow by Mary Webb  –  1983
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Up The Junction by Nell Dunn  –  2013
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I   The Italian Girl by Iris Murdoch  –  1979
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N  New Worlds in Old Books by Leona Rostenberg  –  1999
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That spells out Travellin’  Penguin.    Have you read any of these books and would you recommend them?  See you next time….gardner